Chinese coal mining concessions reportedly got allocated by the Zimbabwean government in Hwange National Park. Apparently, they threaten a section of the park that falls in the Robin’s Camp area. They also cover the Deteema and Mansuma dams. While countries like Zambia and Botswana do their best in protecting wildlife resources, it seems that Zimbabwe exploits them at any cost to the national heritage.
Chinese coal mining concessions news comes from Bhejane Trust
Bhejane Trust broke the news about the concessions on Facebook. According to their report, their “Rhino Monitoring Team” came across some Chinese people inside the park. Apparently, they drill core samples. Drilling core samples usually takes quite a lot of workers and heavy equipment. We spoke to a person who worked in the industry and they explained that it can be quite detrimental to the environment.
The Chinese people arrested by the Trust popped up later with “a permit.” Apparently, it granted them exploration permissions. But, the Trust feels some concern. After all, allegedly, they never consulted with the Area Manager of the park. The organization explained, they “seem to feel they have a right to go wherever they like.”
Environmental Impact Assessment
During follow-up investigations, Bhejane discovered the granting of “two coal mining concessions in the middle of Sinamatella and Robins!” Furthermore, such special permits come directly from the president’s office. After the arrest, the Trust received Stakeholder Questionaire forms. All stakeholders should fill in the forms for Environmental Impact Assessments. Actually, these usually go out before drilling and invasive exploration starts according to our source.
Apparently, the concessions were grated back in 2019. One went to “Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group” and another called “Afrochine Energy of the Tsingashan Group of China.” Concerns mount as it’s not clear that EIA’s were done prior to the drilling operations. Actually, our source, who contracted in Zimbabwe some years back talked about a similar experience with chrome mining.
EIA’s disregarded in the past
Our source talked about the Mavuradonha Wilderness Area. At one stage, management pushed for the area to become a World Heritage Site. There too, Chinese people apparently trench-sampled inside the protected area ahead of any consultation. Strip-mining fears brought huge concern for the isolated and rare Rafia palms in the area. In that case, it appeared no EIA or consultation with stakeholders happened before the fact either.
It’s not clear if that ever went ahead as a mine as that came ten years back. However, it demonstrates a clear disregard for environmental issues and mining operations. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre reported on that. According to their website, “The environmental impacts by some Chinese companies operating in Zimbabwe can only be described as catastrophic.” That came from a “leading environmentalist and human rights activist.”
Farai Maguwu told “The Epoch Times that some Chinese companies ‘leave trails of immense environmental degradation across the country.”